Rationale for return to face-to-face operation
Read the letter from the Headteacher about a return to face-to-face operation by clicking here.
The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has announced plans for more pupils in Wales to have the opportunity to return to the classroom ahead of the Easter break. You can read the press release in full by clicking here.
The school must seek to design provision for the two week period prior to the Easter break that:
- Most effectively caters for the learning and progress of pupils;
- Protects the wider public health;
- Takes into account the particular context of the school, especially the most vulnerable; and
- Is sustainable and operationally viable.
There are two main possibilities.
OPTION 1: PROVIDE A PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR OLDER YEAR GROUPS
This would mean that Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 return to school, whilst Years 7, 8 and 9 remain at home.
Provision for vulnerable children and children of critical workers would continue.
Opportunities to ‘check in’ with school would be offered to younger learners.
There would be 822 pupils on site and 618 pupils at home for the two week period.
OPTION 2: PROVIDE FACE-TO-FACE TEACHING FOR ALL
This would mean that Years 12 and 13 return to school, whilst all other year groups receive face-to-face teaching on a 50% basis.
Provision for children of critical workers would continue.
There would be 840 pupils on site each day with 600 pupils at home each day for the two week period.
Option 2 is the preferred option.
LEARNING AND PROGRESS
- Class sizes halved to ensure teachers and support staff are able to assess understanding as fully as possible after a period of remote learning.
- Face-to-face teaching for all to contribute more comprehensively to a return to full operation after the Easter break.
- Provision avoids an ‘all or nothing’ situation which may widen attainment gaps.
- Transition back to the classroom is manageable for those who struggle to readjust.
- Teachers focus solely on planning synchronous face-to-face learning; there is no ‘mixed economy’.
- Remote learning has ‘run its course’ and is losing efficacy.
- Smaller classes to allow for social distancing of up to 1.5m in lessons.
- Reduced population within year groups to minimise opportunities for mixing beyond the structured environment of the classroom.
- One child per seat on school transport.
- Reduced population for contact tracing to minimise numbers required to self-isolate.
- Fewer opportunities for community transmission.
- No net increase in on-site population.
CONTEXT OF SCHOOL
- Phased reintegration for all provides advantage for the most vulnerable learners.
- Phased reintegration for all provides advantage in respect of emotional and mental health.
- Reduced population increases likelihood of re-establishing effective routines after period of extended closure.
- Reduced population provides opportunities for providing bespoke support to those with greatest need.
- A period of adjustment for large population of pupils with additional learning needs.
- Provision allows for fluctuation in workforce availability.
- Provision can operate despite shielding continuing for some staff.
- Planning for in-person provision provides strategic focus for all staff.
- Workload impact moderate.
There is reasonable argument to further prioritise pupils in Year 11. Given the final week of the half term is an assessment week, there will be no learning loss by spreading these assessments across the five days that learners are at home. The net impact of option 2 is considered to provide significant educational advantages overall.